NEW YORK, June 4, 2020 – The NBA Board of Governors today approved a competitive format to restart the 2019-20 season with 22 teams returning to play and a tentative start date of Friday, July 31. The Board’s approval is the first formal step among many required to resume the season.
The NBA is working to finalize a comprehensive season restart plan with the National Basketball Players Association. The NBA and the NBPA are working with infectious disease specialists, public health experts and government officials to establish a rigorous program to prevent and mitigate the risk related to COVID-19, including a regular testing protocol and stringent safety practices. The season restart is also contingent on an agreement with The Walt Disney Company to use Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Florida, as a single site for a campus for all games, practices and housing for the remainder of the season.
Based on the competitive format that the NBA Board of Governors approved today, the 22 returning teams would be the 16 teams (eight per conference) in current playoff positions and the six teams that are currently six games or fewer behind the eighth seed in their respective conferences. Those two groups comprise teams with the NBA’s 22 best records.
“The Board’s approval of the restart format is a necessary step toward resuming the NBA season,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “While the COVID-19 pandemic presents formidable challenges, we are hopeful of finishing the season in a safe and responsible manner based on strict protocols now being finalized with public health officials and medical experts. We also recognize that as we prepare to resume play, our society is reeling from recent tragedies of racial violence and injustice, and we will continue to work closely with our teams and players to use our collective resources and influence to address these issues in very real and concrete ways.”
The season restart would begin with eight “seeding games” for each returning team and include the possibility of a play-in tournament for the eighth and final playoff seed in each conference depending on combined records across regular-season games and seeding games. Once the 16-team playoff field is set, the NBA Playoffs would proceed in a traditional conference-based format with four rounds and best-of-seven series in each round. The NBA Finals would end no later than Oct. 12. (See below for the list of returning teams and additional details.)
If, as tentatively scheduled, the season resumes on July 31, then the 2020 NBA Draft Lottery would be rescheduled for Aug. 25, the 2020 NBA Draft would be held on Oct. 15 and the 2020-21 NBA regular season would likely begin on Dec. 1, 2020.
The 14 NBA Lottery teams would be the eight teams that do not participate in the restart and the six teams that participate in the restart but do not qualify for the playoffs. These teams would be seeded in the lottery and assigned odds based on their records through games of March 11. The 16 playoff teams would draft in inverse order of their combined records across regular-season games and seeding games.
NBA Season Restart: Competitive Format Plan
The 22 returning teams for the season restart would be the Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets, Orlando Magic and Washington Wizards from the Eastern Conference and the Los Angeles Lakers, LA Clippers, Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz, Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies, Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs and Phoenix Suns from the Western Conference.
Each returning team would play eight seeding games, as selected from its remaining regular-season matchups. At the conclusion of the seeding games, the seven teams in each conference with the best combined records across regular-season games and seeding games would qualify for the playoffs.
If the team with the eighth-best combined record in its conference is more than four games ahead of the team with the ninth-best combined record in the same conference, then the team with the eighth-best record would earn the eighth playoff seed.
If the team with the eighth-best combined record in its conference (Team A) is four games or fewer ahead of the team with the ninth-best combined record in the same conference (Team B), then Teams A and B would compete in a play-in tournament to determine the eighth playoff seed. To earn the eighth playoff seed, Team A would need to defeat Team B once and Team B would need to defeat Team A two games in a row.
The 2019-20 season would conclude with a traditional playoff format with best-of-seven series in the first round, conference semifinals, conference finals and the NBA Finals.
NHL Stanley Cup schedule: League adds times, exhibition games to 2020 qualifiers – NBCSports.com
Hockey fans got a decent idea of how they’ll get their playoff fix (COVID-19 permitting) when the NHL shared an outline of a schedule for the 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers. The NHL shared more specifics regarding dates and times for the 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers on Tuesday, though, and also the exhibition schedule. NHL schedule Stanley Cup
You can now plan your NHL playoff viewing schedule accordingly from July 28 – Aug. 5, with other game times to be determined starting on Aug. 6.
Speaking of to-be-determined, broadcast information will come later.
NHL return-to-play exhibition schedule
As you can see, the NHL exhibition schedule begins on Tuesday, July 28 and runs through Thursday, July 30:
Dates, times, NHL playoff schedule for 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers
Check out the most updated schedule information for each series involved in the NHL’s 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers, via the NHL:
STANLEY CUP QUALIFIERS BY SERIES
EASTERN CONFERENCE (all games at Scotiabank Arena, Toronto)
(All times, TV information will be announced at a later date; home team listed second)
(5) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (12) Montreal Canadiens
Saturday, Aug. 1: Canadiens vs. Penguins, 8 p.m. ET
Monday, Aug. 3: Canadiens vs. Penguins, 8 p.m. ET
Wednesday, Aug. 5: Penguins vs. Canadiens, 8 p.m. ET
Friday, Aug. 7: Penguins vs. Canadiens*
Saturday, Aug. 8: Canadiens vs. Penguins*
(6) Carolina Hurricanes vs. (11) New York Rangers
Saturday, Aug. 1: Rangers vs. Hurricanes, 12 p.m. ET
Monday, Aug. 3: Rangers vs. Hurricanes, 12 p.m. ET
Tuesday, Aug. 4: Hurricanes vs. Rangers, 8 p.m. ET
Thursday, Aug. 6: Hurricanes vs. Rangers*
Saturday, Aug. 8: Rangers vs. Hurricanes*
(7) New York Islanders vs. (10) Florida Panthers
Saturday, Aug. 1: Panthers vs. Islanders, 4 p.m. ET
Tuesday, Aug. 4: Panthers vs. Islanders, 12 p.m. ET
Wednesday, Aug. 5: Islanders vs. Panthers, 12 p.m. ET
Friday, Aug. 7: Islanders vs. Panthers*
Sunday, Aug. 9: Panthers vs. Islanders*
(8) Toronto Maple Leafs vs. (9) Columbus Blue Jackets
Sunday, Aug. 2: Blue Jackets vs. Maple Leafs, 8 p.m. ET
Tuesday, Aug. 4: Blue Jackets vs. Maple Leafs, 4 p.m. ET
Thursday, Aug. 6: Maple Leafs vs. Blue Jackets, TBD
Friday, Aug. 7: Maple Leafs vs. Blue Jackets*, TBD
Sunday, Aug. 9: Blue Jackets vs. Maple Leafs*, TBD
Sunday, Aug. 2: Flyers vs. Bruins, 3 p.m. ET
Monday, Aug. 3: Capitals vs. Lightning, 4 p.m. ET
Wednesday, Aug. 5: Lightning vs. Bruins, 4 p.m. ET
Thursday, Aug. 6: Capitals vs. Flyers, TBD
Saturday, Aug. 8: Bruins vs. Capitals, TBD
Sunday, Aug. 9: Flyers vs. Lightning, TBD
WESTERN CONFERENCE (all games at Rogers Place, Edmonton)
(5) Edmonton Oilers vs. (12) Chicago Blackhawks
Saturday, Aug. 1: Blackhawks vs. Oilers, 3 p.m. ET
Monday, Aug. 3: Blackhawks vs. Oilers, 10:30 p.m. ET
Wednesday, Aug. 5: Oilers vs. Blackhawks, 10:30 p.m. ET
Friday, Aug. 7: Oilers vs. Blackhawks*, TBD
Saturday, Aug. 8: Blackhawks vs. Oilers*, TBD
(6) Nashville Predators vs. (11) Arizona Coyotes
Sunday, Aug. 2: Coyotes vs. Predators, 2 p.m. ET
Tuesday, Aug. 4: Coyotes vs. Predators, 2:30 p.m. ET
Wednesday, Aug. 5: Predators vs. Coyotes, 2:30 p.m. ET
Friday, Aug. 7: Predators vs. Coyotes*, TBD
Sunday, Aug. 9: Coyotes vs. Predators*, TBD
(7) Vancouver Canucks vs. (10) Minnesota Wild
Sunday, Aug. 2: Wild vs. Canucks, 10:30 p.m. ET
Tuesday, Aug. 4: Wild vs. Canucks, 10:45 p.m. ET
Thursday, Aug. 6: Canucks vs. Wild, TBD
Friday, Aug. 7: Canucks vs. Wild*, TBD
Sunday, Aug. 9: Wild vs. Canucks*, TBD
(8) Calgary Flames vs. (9) Winnipeg Jets
Saturday, Aug. 1: Jets vs. Flames, 10:30 p.m. ET
Monday, Aug. 3: Jets vs. Flames, 2:30 p.m. ET
Tuesday, Aug. 4: Flames vs. Jets, 4:45 p.m. ET
Thursday, Aug. 6: Flames vs. Jets*, TBD
Saturday, Aug. 8: Jets vs. Flames*, TBD
Sunday, Aug. 2: Blues vs. Avalanche, 6:30 p.m. ET
Monday, Aug. 3: Stars vs. Golden Knights, 6:30 p.m. ET
Wednesday, Aug. 5: Avalanche vs. Stars, 6:30 p.m. ET
Thursday, Aug. 6: Golden Knights vs. Blues, TBD
Saturday, Aug. 8: Golden Knights vs. Avalanche, TBD
Sunday, Aug. 9: Stars vs. Blues, TBD
* – if necessary
Day-by-day version of playoff schedule for NHL’s 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers
Prefer a day-by-day format instead? Want both? The NHL also shared that version, if it works better for you:
STANLEY CUP QUALIFIERS DAY-BY-DAY SCHEDULE
(All times ET; TV information will be announced at a later date; home team listed second)
Saturday, Aug. 1
New York Rangers vs. Carolina Hurricanes, Game 1, 12 p.m. ET
Florida Panthers vs. New York Islanders, Game 1, 4 p.m. ET
Montreal Canadiens vs. Pittsburgh Penguins, Game 1, 8 p.m. ET
Chicago Blackhawks vs. Edmonton Oilers, Game 1, 3 p.m. ET
Winnipeg Jets vs. Calgary Flames, Game 1, 10:30 p.m. ET
Sunday, Aug. 2
Philadelphia Flyers vs. Boston Bruins, 3 p.m. ET
Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Toronto Maple Leafs, Game 1, 8 p.m. ET
Arizona Coyotes vs, Nashville Predators, Game 1, 2 p.m. ET
St. Louis Blues vs. Colorado Avalanche, 6:30 p.m. ET
Minnesota Wild vs. Vancouver Canucks, Game 1, 10:30 p.m. ET
Monday, Aug. 3
New York Rangers vs. Carolina Hurricanes, Game 2, 12 p.m. ET
Washington Capitals vs. Tampa Bay Lightning, 4 p.m. ET
Montreal Canadiens vs. Pittsburgh Penguins, Game 2, 8 p.m. ET
Winnipeg Jets vs. Calgary Flames, Game 2, 2:30 p.m. ET
Dallas Stars vs. Vegas Golden Knights, 6:30 p.m. ET
Chicago Blackhawks vs. Edmonton Oilers, Game 2, 10:30 p.m. ET
Tuesday, Aug. 4
Florida Panthers vs. New York Islanders, Game 2, 12 p.m. ET
Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Toronto Maple Leafs, Game 2, 4 p.m. ET
Carolina Hurricanes vs. New York Rangers, Game 3, 8 p.m. ET
Arizona Coyotes vs. Nashville Predators, Game 2, 2:30 p.m. ET
Calgary Flames vs. Winnipeg Jets, Game 3, 6:45 p.m. ET
Minnesota Wild vs. Vancouver Canucks, Game 2, 10:45 p.m. ET
Wednesday, Aug. 5
New York Islanders vs. Florida Panthers, Game 3, 12 p.m. ET
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Boston Bruins, 4 p.m. ET
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Montreal Canadiens, Game 3, 8 p.m. ET
Nashville Predators vs. Arizona Coyotes, Game 3, 2:30 p.m. ET
Colorado Avalanche vs. Dallas Stars, 6:30 p.m. ET
Edmonton Oilers vs. Chicago Blackhawks, Game 3, 10:30 p.m. ET
Thursday, Aug. 6
Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Columbus Blue Jackets, Game 3, TBD
Carolina Hurricanes vs. New York Rangers, Game 4*, TBD
Washington Capitals vs. Philadelphia Flyers, TBD
Vancouver Canucks vs. Minnesota Wild, Game 3, TBD
Calgary Flames vs. Winnipeg Jets, Game 4*, TBD
Vegas Golden Knights vs. St. Louis Blues, TBD
Friday, Aug. 7
New York Islanders vs. Florida Panthers, Game 4*, TBD
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Montreal Canadiens, Game 4*, TBD
Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Columbus Blue Jackets, Game 4*, TBD
Nashville Predators vs. Arizona Coyotes, Game 4*, TBD
Vancouver Canucks vs. Minnesota Wild, Game 4*, TBD
Edmonton Oilers vs. Chicago Blackhawks, Game 4*, TBD
Saturday, Aug. 8
New York Rangers vs. Carolina Hurricanes, Game 5*, TBD
Montreal Canadiens vs. Pittsburgh Penguins, Game 5*, TBD
Boston Bruins vs. Washington Capitals, TBD
Winnipeg Jets vs. Calgary Flames, Game 5*, TBD
Chicago Blackhawks vs. Edmonton Oilers, Game 5*, TBD
Vegas Golden Knights vs. Colorado Avalanche, TBD
Sunday, Aug. 9
Florida Panthers vs. New York Islanders, Game 5*, TBD
Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Toronto Maple Leafs, Game 5*, TBD
Philadelphia Flyers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning, TBD
Minnesota Wild vs. Vancouver Canucks, Game 5*, TBD
Arizona Coyotes vs. Nashville Predators, Game 5*, TBD
Dallas Stars vs. St. Louis Blues, TBD
* – if necessary
More on NHL return to play, CBA extension, COVID-19:
Maple Leafs framing camp as competition for playoff roster – Sportsnet.ca
TORONTO – In an ordinary year, a healthy, established NHL player contributing to good team would face minimal risk of losing his job to a less-experienced player immediately before a playoff tournament.
Breaking: This is no ordinary year.
When coach Sheldon Keefe gathered his Toronto Maple Leafs Monday at the outset of Training Camp: Part Deux, he issued a firm message. Tryouts start now.
“We’ve got competition here for spots,” Keefe said. “To say that we were happy or satisfied with the way we were playing and where we were at as a team before the pause is just not the case. So, we’re challenging our players to push each other.”
Now, we’re pretty sure you should feel safe using permanent ink to scratch numbers like 34, 91 and 16 into your lineup card. But the taxi-squad invitees — headlined by Nick Robertson (locally known as the Greatest Talent to Never Play an NHL Shift) and featuring determined Marlies standouts Kenny Agostino, Adam Brooks and Nic Petan — aren’t just waiting curbside hoping for a fare.
Those hopefuls were among the first arrivals for Phase 2’s voluntary workouts, with Americans like Robertson and Agostino arriving weeks in advance to serve their mandatory 14-quarantine on this side of the border.
“My big thing is, you control what you can control in this game, and you just got to be ready for whenever that opportunity comes about,” an eager Agostino told me in late May before driving up from New Jersey. “You never know what the next year and a half could bring.”
Perhaps this theme of internal competition is being promoted to light a fire under some inconsistent third-line forwards and to accelerate the urgency necessary to leap into a best-of-five showdown versus super-motivator John Tortorella’s Columbus Blue Jackets on Aug. 2.
But Robertson & Co. are chasing that dangled carrot in earnest.
The sports-mad locals are starving for hockey and hope, so it makes sense the 18-year-old sniper’s practice highlights have already gone viral. He stripped our best defenceman of the puck! He lasered a couple by our best goalie!
“He’s a guy that’s going to continue to push. That’s just his nature,” Morgan Rielly says of Robertson. “So, it’s always good to have people like that on board.”
John Tavares marvels how the puck seems to follow Robertson around. Frederik Andersen is impressed by Robertson’s shiftiness and the release off his blade. GM Kyle Dubas zeroes in on the teenager’s mindset and approach.
“He wasn’t going to do what a lot of young players do, which is kinda tiptoe around on the ice and try to figure out what his place is. He’s going to come with the mindset that he’s going to leave it all out here and try to make the team,” Dubas explained on Tim and Sid Tuesday evening. “As some of the older, more veteran players sort of get back into their top form, how he responds to that is what we’re really looking for.”
What’s it going to take? Let’s just say the tie goes to the veteran.
“He needs to really show it, make it obvious that he’s ready,” Keefe said. “And he’s got some time to be able to do that.”
Not a ton.
The Leafs’ lone exhibition game (versus Montreal on July 28) is speeding at us faster than a forecheck. Starting Sunday, the players and bubble staff will enter a modified quarantine in which their lives must take place at home and at work (Ford Performance Centre) only.
Toronto has taken great pains to steepen its ramp-up to the tournament.
The franchise drew the most bodies of any franchise to its practice facility for Phase 2 and jumped directly into intensified, short-bench scrimmages (two lines aside) on Day 1 of camp. By Day 2, Keefe had COVID-clear officials participating on the ice to mimic the real deal.
By way of comparison, the Jackets aren’t scheduling their first scrimmage until later this week. Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau has yet to practice with his linemates. Boston superstar David Pastrnak didn’t join the main group until Wednesday. The virus has already thrown a wrench into the Pittsburgh and Tampa camps.
Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman talk to a lot of people around the hockey world, and then they tell listeners all about what they’ve heard and what they think about it.
Absolutely, the Maple Leafs might get out-checked or out-defended. They could fumble the special-teams battle or not get enough saves. But the strict mandate is they won’t get out-prepared or out-conditioned.
Heck, on Wednesday they drop the puck on Game 1 of their own internal best-of-five series: Team Andersen vs. Team Matthews. Furthermore, the media will vote on a “Phase 3 Scrimmage Most Valuable Player” award. Seriously.
“Every rep that we have has got to be as close to game-like as we can, and the conditioning part of it creates some additional challenges because it’s really hard to do when you’re tired,” Keefe said. “Our hope is — whether it’s the two-line or the three-line effect at scrimmages — that by the time we get rolling with four lines, it feels a lot easier. Our hope is by the time we play the real games, it feels easier than anything we’ve gone through [at] this camp.”
And that is where the internal drive of Robertson, Agostino, Brooks and the other long shots becomes vital.
“These guys have been committed to come in and put in the work, so they’re here to challenge and compete,” Keefe said. “They’re either pushing to earn spots that are available if others don’t pull their weight, or they’re pushing just to make everyone better through their work in practices — and that’s the biggest thing for us.”
NHLTopPlayers: Top Goalies, Nos. 10-6 – NHL.com
From Stanley Cup champions to Vezina Trophy winners to all-stars, the NHL has many great goalies. NHL Network producers and analysts chose the top 10 goalies in the League right now, and Nos. 10-6 were revealed Tuesday in the first of an eight-part series featured on “NHL Tonight.” Here is the list:
10. Anton Khudobin, Dallas Stars
Among NHL goalies who played at least 20 games this season, Khudobin was first in save percentage (.930) and tied for third in goals-against average (2.22). He was 16-8-4 and allowed two goals or fewer in 16 of his 26 starts to help the Stars qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Khudobin’s .926 save percentage over the past two seasons is tied for second in the NHL behind teammate Ben Bishop‘s .927.
“We’ve seen him be really solid [for the Boston Bruins],” NHL Network analyst Mike Rupp said. “Picks up right where he left off in Dallas, has been fantastic. He has a really good defensive team in front of him, but he’s been lights out. So right now, he’s got to be one of the top echelon in the League. He’s been dynamite.”
9. Jacob Markstrom, Vancouver Canucks
Markstrom was 23-16-4 with a 2.75 GAA, a .918 save percentage and two shutouts in 43 games to help Vancouver reach the Stanley Cup Qualifiers, when they will have a chance to make the playoffs for the first time since 2015. He was 5-0-3 with a 2.42 GAA and .921 save percentage from Oct. 9-Nov. 5, and then went 6-0-0 with a 2.49 GAA and .932 save percentage from Dec. 19-Jan. 4. Markstrom was a Vezina Trophy contender before missing eight games with a knee injury prior to the season being paused March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus.
“[Markstrom is] a pretty good example of a goaltender that can steal a series,” Rupp said. “This team is poised to be in the playoffs.”
8. Robin Lehner, Vegas Golden Knights
Lehner was 3-0-0 with a 1.67 GAA, a .940 save percentage and one shutout for the Golden Knights after being traded Feb. 24 by the Chicago Blackhawks and Toronto Maple Leafs. Prior to that, he was 16-10-5 with a 3.01 GAA and .918 save percentage in 33 games (31 starts) for the Blackhawks. Lehner’s best season in the NHL was 2018-19, when he was 25-13-5 with a 2.13 GAA, a .930 save percentage and six shutouts in 46 games (43 starts). He won the William M. Jennings Trophy with teammate Thomas Greiss as the goalies on the NHL team that allowed the fewest regular-season goals.
“Robin Lehner is getting it done still, and when you look at this team and you look at Marc-Andre Fleury and him, what a tandem,” Rupp said. “There’s no weakness on this team here in Vegas, and the goaltenders are a big reason why. Big man, big saves he makes.”
7. Darcy Kuemper, Arizona Coyotes
Kuemper was third in save percentage (.928) and tied for third in GAA (2.22) among NHL goalies who played at least 20 games this season. Limited to 29 games because of injury, he was 16-11-2 with two shutouts and helped the Coyotes advance to the Qualifiers, when they will have a chance to make the playoffs for the first time since 2012. Over the past two seasons, Kuemper is 43-31-10 with seven shutouts and is second in the NHL in GAA (2.29) and tied for second in save percentage (.926).
“Now he’s got confidence, and that’s one thing,” Rupp said. “I played with him [with the Minnesota Wild from 2012-14] as a young player, and everybody kind of struggles with some confidence. He’s got it now. He’s been awesome this season.”
6. Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens
His 348 wins are first in Canadiens history, and he went 27-25-6 to top 20 wins for the 10th time in 13 NHL seasons. Price had a 2.79 GAA, a .909 save percentage and four shutouts to help Montreal advance to the Qualifiers. He played 58 games, tying for the NHL lead with Connor Hellebuyck of the Winnipeg Jets, faced the second-most shots (1,755; Hellebuyck, 1,796), and made the second-most saves (1,595; Hellebuyck, 1,656). Price led goalies in minutes played (3,439:49).
“There’s people that are going to be arguing he should be higher than this, in the top five,” Rupp said. “Nonetheless, Carey Price is still one of the great goaltenders of all time, just different opinions of where he is now today.”
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